The Biblical Allusion to the Prohibition Against Eating Matza on Passover Eve

The Biblical Allusion to the Prohibition Against Eating Matza on Passover Eve

Exodus 12:18, with its unusual language describing how the main commandment of the fifteenth of the month Nisan is to be observed “on the fourteenth of the month in the evening… ,” thus connecting the holy day to the previous day, teaches us that because the unique commandment of the day is specifically to eat matza, we are obligated to do the opposite, i.e. to not eat matza, on the preceding day, and, paradoxically, that same connection between the days means that the unique commandment of the holy day, to eat matza, may be observed already before the conclusion of the previous day. Continue reading

Half Hallel is Like a Half Thank-You

Half Hallel is Like a Half Thank-You

When the new holidays of Iyar roll around, we understandably find some of our Jewish brethren who have their doubts about the propriety of saying the full hallel with a blessing as part of the prayer service. After all, for centuries the explicit halacha was that on only 18 days of the year (or 21 … Continue reading

Two New Ideas for the New Month

Two New Ideas for the New Month

Laws of the Sanctification of the New Moon 7:7: Why is [Rosh HaShanah] not when [the average molad] occurs on Sunday, Wednesday, or Friday? Because these calculations determine the conjunction of the sun and the moon only according to their mean [rate of] progress, and do not reflect the moon’s true position, as explained. Therefore, … Continue reading

Was the Judge Gideon Actually a King?

Was the Judge Gideon Actually a King?

Recently, the question came up regarding the Maimonidean halacha that only a king may take a concubine for himself. Other medieval authorities, like Nahmanides, assume that concubinage is permissible for ordinary people. In Judges 8:32, it says that the Judge Gideon had a concubine. According to Nahmanides, Gideon did nothing remarkable by having a concubine, … Continue reading

The Longed-For Sunset of the Rabbinic Establishment

The Longed-For Sunset of the Rabbinic Establishment

If 20,000 people would have shown up for Korban Pesah, it would have happened, just like the Exodus happened when about 600,000 men walked out of Egypt with their families when the opportunity presented itself. These organic revolutions started at the bottom, with the people, and nurtured new leadership that replaced the old. If the Rabbinate is not even ready to allow people to ritually purify themselves or to let them visit and pray at the site of the Temple, then it is certainly not prepared for building and running a temple. Continue reading

On the Time for Offering the Korban Pesah

On the Time for Offering the Korban Pesah

The following is part of the introduction to Haggadat Hapesah: The Pesah is also unique in that it is offered after the daily afternoon public lamb offering, the  tamid, is offered, whereas there is a general rule that on any given day, any animals must be offered only after the morning burnt lamb and before the … Continue reading